The Place Mention Zi Char and Keng Eng Kee Seafood will be one of the names which cross many minds, which has been in operation for the past few decades. It’s a shame we only managed to try it recently at its Bukit Merah location, which is famous for its Moonlight Hor Fun. Despite the relatively huge space it occupies, reservation is a must if you want to guarantee a visit on weekends.
The Food The first dish and the absolute must try at KEK Seafood is the Fried Hor Fun 月光河粉 (S$5). This seemingly ordinary Zi Char dish is anything but ordinary here. Served with a raw egg, the wok-hei filled Hor Fun flavour was evident, with every bite having us wonder what type of Hor Fun we have been eating the last few decades. Do mix the Hor Fun well with the raw egg, so much umami!
The other specialty dish at KEK is the Mingzhu Roll 明珠卷 (S$12 for 6 pieces). This fried Tau Pok roll is stuffed with salted egg yolk, prawn, ham, mushrooms and parsley, which is quite a big deviation from the usual roll with some western elements like ham. Unfortunately, we found the taste average and were not particularly impressed with this dish.
The Coffee Pork Ribs 咖啡排骨 (S$12) was good, but not exceptional. We reckoned that this dish has been replicated in almost every Zi Char stall or restaurant that it is no longer a specialty of any restaurant. If you want a safe option, go for this.
Comparatively, I felt that the Butter Cereal Sotong 奶油麦片苏东 (S$18) fared better as compared to the Pork Ribs. Cereal prawns and chicken are commonly found, but not quite Cereal Sotong. To say that I was hooked to the cereal is an understatement. I love how buttery and crispy the cereal was. The sotong was fresh and spotted a nice and chewy texture.
I couldn’t remember the reason we ordered another sotong dish, but we had the Cuttlefish with Kangkong 鱿鱼应菜 (S$10) as well. We thought that this dish was quite unique and different from the usual plan rendition of Kangkong while browsing the menu. The verdict? It was tasty, but I should have gone along with the Chinese Spinach with eggs or the Eggplant with minced pork & salted fish instead for a better variety of dishes.
Rants It is tough to get a table if you do not reserve in advance, especially for bigger dining groups. This is not an eleventh hour dining destination.
Will I Return Again? Is KEK Seafood one of the best in Singapore for Zi Char? We think so. The prices are reasonable and quality of the dishes we tried were well above average.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Keng Eng Kee Seafood (瓊榮記海鲜)
Blk 124 Bukit Merah Lane 1
Tel: +65 6272 1038
Daily: 12pm to 2.30pm; 5pm to 10pm
Ranted by The Ranter